Saturday, October 19, 2013
Pilgrimage by Lynn Austin
We all encounter times when our spirit feels dry, when doubt looms.
The opportunity to tour Israel came at a good time. For months, my life has been a mindless plodding through necessary routine, as monotonous as an all-night shift on an assembly line. Life gets that way sometimes, when nothing specific is wrong but the world around us seems drained of color. Even my weekly worship experiences and daily quiet times with God have felt as dry and stale as last year's crackers. I'm ashamed to confess the malaise I've felt. I have been given so much. Shouldn't a Christian's life be an abundant one, as exciting as Christmas morning, as joyful as Easter Sunday?With gripping honesty, Lynn Austin pens her struggles with spiritual dryness in a season of loss and unwanted change. Tracing her travels throughout Israel, Austin seamlessly weaves events and insights from the Word . . . and in doing so finds a renewed passion for prayer and encouragement for her spirit, now full of life and hope.
This is an excellent book about the author's recent visit to Israel.
Lynn Austin is one of my favourite fiction authors and this is her first non-fiction work. Facing pressure and sadness from the home front, she and her husband embarked on a tour of Israel. It's impossible to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and other heroes of faith without getting an attitude overhaul and fresh perspective. I knew I was in for a treat from the start, when they arrived at Ben Gurion Airport.
In the Desert of Zin, she developed a greater understanding for the children of Israel, who we're often so quick to denounce as thankless grumblers. As they explored the craggy caves where David hid from Saul, she got me thinking about waiting patiently for promises. Hiking up the steep road to Jerusalem, she realised how fit Jesus, his disciples and all the pilgrims must have been. She walked through King Hezekiah's ancient aqueduct, the desperate engineering feat which impressed everyone except God. At the seaport of Joppa, she thought about Jonah's and Peter's unique experiences there, and what they show us about making a complete turn-around in our lives. She witnessed a sudden violent storm over the Sea of Galilee, showing her firsthand how brave Peter's attempt at walking on water really was. This is just scratching the surface of all the places Lynn and her husband visited in the Holy Land.
The descriptions were vivid and beautiful. I'm glad Lynn Austin didn't keep her experiences and reflections to herself. This book is as much of a virtual tour of Israel as anything I've come across.
I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Bethany House in return for an honest review.
Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked available from Amazon